MMCM Latest News
Medical Marijuana Bills
Thanks to everyone who spoke at the Public Hearing and sent in written testimony on the bills!
In the next month, the bills will now go to the House of Representatives for approval, and then to the Senate. If the House and Senate vote in favor of the bills, they will go to the Governor for approval to be signed into law.
Bills passed by the Health and Human Services Committee, May 15, 2013:
An Act To Add Conditions That Qualify for Medical Marijuana Use
Public Hearing Testimony at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1062&PID=1456&snum=126&sec3#
Sponsored By: Representative DICKERSON of Rockland
May 15th Committee Vote: May 15th Committee Vote: The Committee voted majority (12-1) Ought to Pass As Amended.
The amended version does not include addiction treatment as a qualifying condition, and removes the provision allowing doctor discretion in determining whether a condition qualifies for medical use of marijuana.
The amended version of the bill would add PTSD as a qualifying condition and direct the DHHS to publish a form so members of the public can petition to add conditions.
An Act To Amend the Medical Marijuana Law Regarding Excess Harvested Marijuana
Public Hearing Testimony at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1423&PID=1456&snum=126&sec3#
Summary of original bill language before amendments: This bill allows a qualifying patient or primary caregiver who possesses excess marijuana to sell the excess marijuana to a qualifying patient, primary caregiver or registered dispensary for reasonable compensation. This bill also removes the penalties for possession of excess marijuana.
Sponsored By: Representative HICKMAN of Winthrop
May 15th Committee Vote: The majority of the committee (10-3) voted Ought to Pass as Amended.
The amended version of the bill would allow caregivers (not patients) to sell up to 2 pounds a year of excess marijuana to dispensaries.
An Act To Ensure Regulated Safe Access to Medical Marijuana
Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1161&PID=1456&snum=126&sec3#
Sponsored By: Senator GERZOFSKY of Cumberland
May 15th Committee Vote: The Committee unanimous ought not to pass on the bill to add 8 dispensaries and expand regulations.
An Act To Clarify and Correct Provisions of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act
Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1462&PID=1456&snum=126&sec3#
Sponsored By: Representative DION of Portland
May 15th Committee Vote: The Committee voted unanimous Ought to Pass as Amended.
The amended version of the bill would not change the name of the Medical Marijuana Act.
It would allow access to a dispensary or caregiver's cultivation facility to maintenance, repair, construction, and EMS workers, and would provide a waiver for state employees to have access.
It amends the requirement that dispensaries and caregivers tag plants with patients names to require they identify the plants using a number system or initials of the patient.
An Act To Establish Fees under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act
Public Hearing Testimony at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=480&PID=1456&snum=126&sec3#
Sponsored By: Representative SANDERSON of Chelsea
May 15th Committee Vote: The Committee voted unanimous Ought to Pass as Amended.
The amended bill would set a range of fees charged by the Department for the following:
1. Fees paid by dispensaries for certification and relocation
2.Fees charged to caregivers and dispensaries to cover costs of the Department issuing and replacing patient registry ID cards.
3. Fees charged to caregivers and dispensaries for criminal history record information.
4. Laboratory testing fees.
The amendment also requires the DHHS to develop rules to reduce fees when the balance of the Medical Marijuana Program account exceeds $400,000, guaranteeing that the lower rate will be in effect for a 2-year period.
It clarifies that no fees will be charged to patients or non-cultivating caregivers.
An Act To Ensure the Integrity of Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program
Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1404&PID=1456&snum=126&sec3#
Sponsored By: Representative GILBERT of Jay
May 15th Committee Vote: The Committee voted unanimous Ought to Pass as Amended.
The amended version of LD 1404 removes the section that would allow a caregiver to have an unlimited number of patients.
It would allow caregivers to donate excess marijuana to patients, reversing a prior DHHS decision to ban caregiver donation to patients.
It would allow a caregiver to have one employee.
Bill passed by the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry, May 16, 2013.
An Act To Maintain Access to Safe Medical Marijuana
An amended version LD 1531, An Act To Maintain Access to Safe Medical Marijuana, passed with majority support out of the Agriculture Committee.
The bill originally would have banned use of pesticides in medical marijuana cultivation, except for those authorized by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Board of Pesticides Control. The bill directed the board to establish a list of minimum risk pesticides.
The amended version of the bill removes the requirement for the Board of Pesticides to develop a list of allowed pesticides.
It prohibits use of pesticides on medical marijuana that require federal registration, but would allow use of any of the pesticides included in the list list of minimum risk pesticides that are exempt from federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, Section 25(b).
The list follows:
Castor oil (U.S.P. or equivalent); Linseed oil; Cedar oil; Malic acid;Cinnamon and cinnamon oil; Mint and mint oil; Citric acid; Peppermint and peppermint oil; Citronella and Citronella oil; 2-Phenethyl propionate (2-phenylethyl propionate); Cloves and clove oil; Potassium sorbate; Corn gluten meal; Putrescent whole egg solids; Corn oil; Rosemary and rosemary oil; Cottonseed oil; Sesame (includes ground sesame plant) and sesame oil; Dried Blood; Sodium chloride (common salt); Eugenol; Sodium lauryl sulfate; Garlic and garlic oil; Soybean oil; Geraniol; Thyme and thyme oil; Geranium oil; White pepper; Lauryl sulfate Zinc metal strips (consisting solely of zinc metal and impurities); Lemongrass oil
The Department of Agriculture stated during the development of Maine's medical marijuana law in 2009, “...Any pesticide used in the United States has to be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and, if used in Maine, with the Board of Pesticides Control. The chemical companies register their products for use on specific crops. There are 643 products with active federal registrations for tobacco and zero for marijuana. A grower using a chemical, including those used in organic production, to control a disease or pest in the growing operation would be using it illegally."
This bill would specify that use of pesticides in the list that don't require federal registration would be allowed for medical marijuana.
MMCM is receiving an influx of phone calls from patients in need of caregivers from around the state.
If you are a Caregiver seeking patients, be in touch!
MMCM Members can post informational ads on the MMCM website for $50 a month.
See the Caregiver Directory at:
Marijuana in the News
Here are links to news articles about Marijuana in Maine.
Please consider donating to us so we can continue to represent patients and caregivers in Augusta and beyond!
- April 12, Daily Bulldog
- April 10, WMTW
- April 9, MPBN
- April 6, WABI TV
- April 6, WGME 13
- April 6, Kennebec Journal
- April 5, Portland Daily Sun
- April 4, Portland Press Herald
- April 4, Maine Public Radio
- April 3, Portland Press Herald
- April 3, Kennebec Journal
- April 1, Portland Press Herald
- April 1, Portland Daily Sun
- March 31, Portland Press Herald
- March 29, WCSH Channel 6 / NECN:
- March 28, Maine Public Broadcasting:
- March 28, WABI TV
- March 28, International Business Times:
- March 28, Bangor Daily News:
- March 28, Rockland Free Press:
- March 27, Portland Daily Sun
- March 26, The Portland Forecaster:
- March 26, WCSH Channel 6:
- March 26, Portland Press Herald:
- March 26, Bangor Daily News:
- March 25, Portland Daily Sun
- March 17, Worcester Telegram:
- March 9, The Economist:
-March 3, South Coast Today:
- February 19, Clark Insurance Blog:
- January 31, Kennebec Journal:
- February, Down East Magazine:
-January 17, Rockland Free Press:
Cannabis Education Day at the State House
On January 31, 2013 the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine presented the second annual Cannabis Education Day at the State House.
Videos of the Presentations are now available online.
Many thanks to to Dave Wilkinson for making the videos available. For more videos on marijuana in Maine by Dave click here.
Cannabis Education Day Presentations - More to Come!
- Former Medical Marijuana Program Director John Thiele speaking on his experiences with Maine's medical use of marijuana program. Click here.
- Dr. Dustin Sulak speaking on Maine's medical marijuana law and needs of patients. Click here.
- Hillary Lister of MMCM speaking on Maine's Medical Marijuana Laws and Regulations. Click here.
Powerpoint Presentation: “Overview of Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Laws and Regulations”
- Catherine Lewis of MMCM speaking on becoming a patient and caregiver. Click here.
- Paul McCarrier of MMCM speaking on legislation to allow Doctor's discretion in recomending marijuana. Click here.
More videos available:
- Alysia Melnick speaking on the current situation with Maine's marijuana law at Home Grown Maine 2012. Click here.
- Cullen Stewart speaking on Hemp at Home Grown Maine 2012. Click here.
DHHS Releases Medical Marijuana Rules
Impact of New Rules for Maine's Medical Use of Marijuana Program
The majority of rule changes by the Department of Health and Human Services that took effect on December 31, 2012, followed the intent of Maine's Medical Marijuana law as passed by Citizen's Initiatives, and amended by LD1296 in 2011.
Many of the issues raised by members of the Public at the 2012 hearings on the proposed rule changes appear to have been effectively integrated into the new rules.
Certain sections of the new rules appear to be major substantive changes, however, and go against the intent of the law to allow safe affordable access to those people most in need of the benefits of medical cannabis, and ensure patient privacy.
HIGHLIGHTS OF CHANGES
Section 2.7.1 requires outdoor growing spaces to be surrounded by a locked privacy fence at least 6 feet high that obscures the view of the marijuana to discourage theft and unauthorized intrusion. When this height requirement is inconsistent with local ordinances regarding fences, deference is given to local ordinance height requirements. Qualifying patients or caregivers must comply with local ordinances, if any, regarding boundary setback requirements.
Section 184.108.40.206 prohibits pesticide use. There are no pesticides authorized for use on marijuana by Maine law, and unauthorized application of pesticides is unlawful under these rules.
Section 220.127.116.11 allows a patient to designate a registered caregiver when the patient is absent and unable to care for his or her marijuana plants, in the qualifying patient’s enclosed locked facility without pay and for a time-limited period. The qualifying patient must give a completed department-approved designation form that includes the designation is without pay and the specific time-limited dates to the designated registered primary caregiver prior to taking temporary care of the marijuana plants.
Section 18.104.22.168 allows a qualifying patient to possess an incidental amount of marijuana in addition to the patient's 6 flower plants. It defines the “Incidental amount of marijuana per patient” to mean up to 12 female nonflowering marijuana plants; an unlimited amount of marijuana seedlings, seeds, stalks and roots; and up to eight (8) pounds of harvested dried unprepared marijuana in varying stages of processing that are not included when calculating the “allowable useable amount of marijuana.”
Section 1.17.5 defines “Seedling” as a marijuana plant that has no flowers (buds), and is less than 12 inches in height and diameter.
Section 2.9 states that a person who possesses female nonflowering marijuana plants, mature marijuana plants, prepared marijuana, or harvested dried unprepared marijuana in varying stages of processing in excess of the limits provided in these rules must forfeit the excess amounts to a law enforcement officer. The section allows a law enforcement officer to remove all excess female nonflowering marijuana plants, mature marijuana plants, prepared marijuana, and harvested dried unprepared marijuana in varying stages of processing in order to catalog the amount of excess marijuana.
The following rule changes place undue burdens on those Maine patients most in need of safe affordable medicine:
PATIENTS PROHIBITED FROM CULTIVATING
Section 4.11 creates new classes of patients who are prohibited from growing their own medical marijuana.
Section 4.11.3 bans patients who are legally defined as “incapacitated” from cultivating.
A person's incapacitated status is in no way indicative of their ability to safely grow plants.
For many incapacitated patients, gardening is one of the most effective forms of therapy.
Furthermore, a significant portion of incapacitated people live on fixed income and do not have excess income to purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary or caregiver. These same people may have access to a small space to grow their medicine, and they pose no threat to themselves or others by being allowed to do so. If low-income patients are banned from cultivating their own medicine, many will have to no choice but to depend on higher-risk pharmaceutical medications, increasing the burden on taxpayers.
Section 4.11.4 bans patients who are registered in a hospice or nursing facility from cultivating.
It is unclear whether any patients in a hospice or nursing facility are currently cultivating for themselves, and it is unclear what has created the need for this particular prohibition.
Section 2.7.1 requires outdoor growing spaces to have a privacy fence at least 6 feet high that obscures the view of the marijuana to discourage theft and unauthorized intrusion. When this height requirement is inconsistent with local ordinances regarding fences, deference is given to local ordinance height requirements. Qualifying patients or caregivers must comply with local ordinances, if any, regarding boundary setback requirements.
Section 22.214.171.124.2.1 requires caregivers to tag all mature plants with the patient's name.
This requirement creates potential violations of patient privacy.
HOSPICE AND NURSING FACILITY RESTRICTIONS
Section 11.1 creates a major list of restrictions on the ability for patients in a hospice facility from having access to their medicine.
The rule clarifies that hospice facilities have the discretion on whether to allow patients with medical marijuana recommendations to have access to that medicine while in the facility. Many hospice facilities around Maine have patients with medical marijuana recommendations and are taking steps to accomodate the patients, and treat the doctor's recommendation as they would for any other recommended therapy.
Section 126.96.36.199 requires a facility to maintain a separate set of records from the patient's medication administration record. The medical marijuana file must include an inventory record, documentation of marijuana administration and the relief provided.
Section 11.6 prohibits patients from keeping marijuana in their room or on their person.
The rule states that medical marijuana is a danger to other residents, though it is unclear how it is more dangerous than a bag of sugar in a facility with diabetics. Many patients using medical marijuana in hospice use it in the form of a salve or tincture and are able to access it when they are in pain, needing sleep, or otherwise in need of its benefits. Unlike Tylenol, a person will not overdose or be in serious danger from taking too much tincture or using too much salve.
Section 11.7 requires that marijuana in a hospice facility must be kept under doble lock and inventoried by two staff persons, who must register with the DHHS and have MMMP registry identification cards.
Section 11.8.1 requires patients in a hospice facility to have a DHHS registry identification card.
Maine's medical marijuana law as amended in 2011 by LD 1296 clearly states that registration is optional, in order to protect patient privacy. Under current law, a valid Doctor's recommendation for medical use of marijuana is all that is required for protections as a patient under Maine's medical marijuana law. One's status as a patient in a hospice facility should not violate one's right to privacy.
Section 11.8.2 requires that only a registered facility staff member can administer medical marijuana to a patient, and prohibits a patient's cultivating caregiver from administering medical marijuana to the patient in the facility.
The cumulative impact of these regulations on hospice and nursing facilities will have the effect of restricting access to medical marijuana by Maine people most in need of its benefits.
Nursing facilities are already overburdened and often understaffed, and these cumbersome new requirements for separate records, extra staff requirements to access and administer medicinal marijuana, and prohibitions on patient privacy and safe access, will likely result in many facilities making the decision to simply not allow any access to medical marijuana to Maine patients most in need of it's benefits.